A new plan to complete the outstanding works and bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service at the earliest possible date has been developed by the new Crossrail leadership team. This provides Londoners with a realistic and achievable plan to complete the Elizabeth line.
The high-level plan to complete the railway has progressed into a logically linked and detailed Delivery Control Schedule. Around 120 key milestones have been identified and are being tracked.
By the end of the year, final fit-out and testing and commissioning is due to be completed at many stations. We are on track to complete fit-out and testing of the tunnels by January 2020. This will allow the new stations and rail infrastructure to be integrated with the rest of the railway.
During 2020 we will undertake testing of the completed railway including an extensive period of trial running and trial operations to build absolute confidence in the safety and reliability of the whole system before opening to the public.
Due to the complexity of the remaining work, Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window between October 2020 and March 2021 for the start of Elizabeth line services through central London.
However, this is the most difficult and challenging phase of the programme with significant integration and testing to complete. Crossrail continues to actively manage the three critical paths – train and signalling software, tunnel systems and stations, shafts and portals.
As the programme to complete and test the railway progresses, Crossrail Ltd will be able to provide increasing certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open.
Central Section Progress
Each Elizabeth line station has over 50 km of communications cabling, 200 CCTV cameras, 66 information displays, 200 radio antennas, 750 loudspeakers and 50 help points. All this technology needs to be fully installed, tested and integrated.
A Handover Strategy and Plan which sets the way forward for all 30-individual handover execution plans has been written for each station, shaft, portal and railway system has been developed.
Crossrail has successfully completed the first two major handovers in September. The responsibility for Victoria Dock Portal and Pudding Mill Lane Portal have transferred to the infrastructure manager, Rail for London Infrastructure, who will now maintain these assets. There are 28 major handovers remaining – Mile End shaft will be the next of the shafts and portals to be handover ahead of the first major station and routeways handovers later this year.
Work to fully complete the central tunnels continues. We commissioned the system that is used for the railway’s mobile communications system in early October and are on track to complete fit-out and testing of the tunnels by January 2020.
A key priority for the programme is to ensure that all stations in the central section have reached a level of completion that will allow the Trial Running phase to commence and the operational railway to be fully tested in the first quarter of 2020.
Main Dynamic Testing
Dynamic Testing of the trains in the tunnels remains underway using 4 x class 345 trains. A key purpose of testing is to identify and fix any software bugs in the train control system and to make sure everything works as planned.
Testing currently takes place for four days each week and the latest Siemens software configuration, PD+10, was installed in the central tunnels in early October as planned and valuable reliability and functional testing continues whilst we await the next configuration. PD+11 is planned to be delivered for testing on the central section in early December.
Siemens software configuration, PD+10, was planned to be the first version capable of supporting entry into Trial Running. Testing in the Crossrail. Integration Facility identified some missing functionality and defects. As a consequence, the next software configuration, PD+11, will be the candidate for the start of Trial Running.
The use of software configuration PD+11 is still consistent with starting Trial Running in the first quarter of 2020 and our declared delivery window between October 2020 and March 2021 for the start of Elizabeth line services through central London. If another revision of the software configuration is required, the opening window would still be valid, although under increased risks. The nature of software development means uncertainty will remain until we begin to test each version.
Main Dynamic Testing
Transport for London’s maintenance team has taken responsibility for Victoria Dock Portal and Pudding Mill Lane Portal following successful handovers from Crossrail.
The new maintenance team, based at the maintenance depot in Plumstead, has been providing track inspection support which enables them to become more familiar with the assets and locations prior to becoming the infrastructure manager.
MTR Crossrail are on course to start operating stopping services from Paddington mainline station to Reading from 15 December this year under the TfL Rail brand.
Network Rail has begun the handover process for driver CCTV works and it is expected that full handover will be achieved by early November to support the delivery of TfL Rail services to Reading. Platform extension works at West Drayton and Slough is complete, whilst the final extension at Maidenhead is forecast for completion this month.
Station enhancement works continue at West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Action Main Line and are all anticipated to complete in late 2020. Station enhancements works at Ilford and Romford are due to complete by the end of 2020.
Photo credit: Crossrail